Second ACI Africa Commercial Forum seeks to harness continent’s duty free potential

AFRICA. The second Airports Council International Africa (ACI Africa) Commercial Forum will focus on how African airports’ connectivity can be supported by duty free revenues.

ACI Africa said the forum comes against the background of increased passenger numbers in the region, presenting a significant opportunity for airports and their commercial partners. It will be held as part of the ACI World/Africa conference in Mauritius on 16 October.

According to ACI Africa Secretary General Ali Tounsi, Africa’s connectivity in the context of globalisation is inseparable from the growth of its airports sector and harnessing commercial revenues is key.

The inaugural trade forum was held in Livingstone, Zambia last March. The upcoming forum will feature more speakers and more participants. “Industry momentum fully supports the expansion of this event, which reflects the undeniable progress of the duty free sector in Africa,” said ACI Africa.

“African airport infrastructure is expanding rapidly, given the almost exponential growth of African air passengers. The figures speak for themselves; Africa will have exceptional growth of its air transport sector in the coming years with an annual growth rate of + 5% projected over the next 20 years to reach more than 300 million passengers per year.”

The ACI Africa trade forum will span a half day, featuring two panels of senior industry figures and regulators. Tunde Oyekola, ACI Africa’s President of World Business Partners, is expected to lead one of the two panels. Tarek Yassine Hamila, a key retailer, Zouhair Mohamed El Aoufir, from the Moroccan Airports Authority, and Gemma Bateson, Corporate Affairs & Communications Director Duty-Free at JTI, have already been invited, with more to follow.

The forum will also address regulatory issues. ACI Africa said these include the risks associated within the provisions of the World Health Organisation’s Tobacco Control Treaty’s binding Protocol on illicit trade of tobacco products, “which could severely penalize sales in duty free shops at airports”.

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